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April 9, 2012

Lives at Risk: Maritime workers continue to risk asbestos exposure

The Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) issued a warning that inspection of some foreign vessels, including flagships and tug boats, found the vessels to be "riddled with asbestos." These vessels carried fake documentation stating that the materials on board were asbestos-free. Such discoveries prompt concern about the health of seafarers and the global need to enforce health and safety laws requiring asbestos-free workplaces.

In 2005, the Australian government introduced laws to stop the importation of asbestos-containing ships; however, the institute claims that foreign ships carrying asbestos-containing products (wall and ceiling coverings, insulation material, fuses and fire blankets) continue to operate in Australia due to a law enforcement problem.

''The issue of asbestos is not just a blight on our industrial history but is a continuing concern for seafarers who live and work 24/7 on board these vessels," warned AIMPE Assistant Federal Secretary Martin Byrne in an article published by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Herald also reported that, given the estimated one-third of cleanup notices issued by Australia's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) involving illegal dumping or stockpiling of asbestos material, the improper handling of asbestos-containing materials remains a relevant issue affecting both "current and future generations."

Read the full article on asbestos exposure putting maritime workers at risk in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Learn more about how Motley Rice asbestos lawyers represent asbestos victims and fight for compensation and accountability on their behalf against companies that manufactured, distributed or supplied asbestos-containing products.